September 09, 2019

Following Notice That Trump Administration Will Seize Military Construction Funds To Build Border Wall, Schumer, Gillibrand, And Maloney Call On Congress To Limit President’s Ability To Divert Military Funds To Build A Border Wall

Members Urge the Leaders of Senate and House Armed Services Committees to Prevent President from Redirecting Military Funding to Construct a Border Wall; Sign These Limits into Law in Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act; Push Comes After Pentagon’s Decision to Divert $3.6 Billion Allocated for 127 Military Construction Projects Across the Country, Including $160 Million for West Point

Washington, DC – Following the Trump administration’s notice that essential military construction funding will be seized to build a wall at the Southern border, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, and Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY-18) today called on Congress to act and limit the President’s ability to divert allocated military funding. In a letter sent today, the New York members urged Senate and House Armed Services Committee leadership to include House Sections 1046 and 2801 in the final, conferenced National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. These provisions would prevent the President from redirecting military spending authorized since FY 2015, as well as any future military spending, for construction of a border wall.

“As the Committees charged with overseeing the nation’s defense readiness, we must call on President Trump and Defense Secretary Esper to immediately reverse this decision and put the wellbeing of the brave men and women who serve our country first,” the members wrote. “To that end, we urge you to retain House Sections 1046 and 2801 in the final conferenced National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 in order to ensure that this does not happen in future years, as well as to send a strong message to the President that taking this year’s military funding away from where they are most needed has no support in Congress.”

This comes in response to the Trump administration’s decision to divert $3.6 billion dollars from 127 military construction projects across the country in order to build a wall at the Southern border. The administration’s move would affect $160 million allocated for the construction of a new engineering building and supporting structures at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

The full text Schumer, Gillibrand, and Maloney’s letter to Senate and House Armed Services Committee leadership can be found here and below:

September 9, 2019

The Honorable James Inhofe

Chairman

Senate Armed Services Committee

228 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Jack Reed

Ranking Member

Senate Armed Services Committee

228 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Adam Smith

Chairman

House Armed Services Committee

2216 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Mac Thornberry

Ranking Member

House Armed Services Committee

2216 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairmen Inhofe and Smith, and Ranking Members Reed and Thornberry,

We write out of deep concern for the notification we received this week that the President is using the authority in 10 U.S.C §2808 to move unobligated military construction funds for construction of a permanent wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Constructing a wall at the Southern border is an ineffective waste of taxpayer money and will do nothing to advance our national security. President Trump is taking money from West Point and 126 other military installation projects across the country in order to work around Congress and build this needless project. Diverting this defense funding eliminates mission-critical facilities, placing our national security at risk and limiting the military’s ability to compete with our country’s most powerful adversaries.

The targeted military construction projects, including the Engineering Center at West Point, have undergone a thorough review process by the military and by Congress and were determined necessary for military operations, unlike the border wall.  As the Committees charged with overseeing the nation’s defense readiness, we must call on President Trump and Defense Secretary Esper to immediately reverse this decision and put the wellbeing of the brave men and women who serve our country first.

To that end, we urge you to retain House Sections 1046 and 2801 in the final conferenced National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 in order to ensure that this does not happen in future years, as well as to send a strong message to the President that taking this year’s military funding away from where they are most needed has no support in Congress.

Sincerely,